Finnish premier Sanna Marin

Italy, NATO and Russia: what transpired today?


Prime Minister Mario Draghi held a press conference today with the Finnish Prime Minister, saying he backs their NATO bid. Meanwhile, Russia is said to be ready to expel 24 Italian diplomats from the country.

Premier Mario Draghi told a press conference with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin in Rome that Italy was willing to send more arms to Ukraine if necessary. However, the decision ultimately lies with the European Union, he added.

“We want to help Ukraine to defend itself,” said the premier.  “We have done so in the past and we will do so again when necessary.

“Europeans are all together in the defence of Ukraine, we are loyal members of the Union”.

Coalition government not in agreement over more arms to Ukraine

In Italy, several parties in Draghi’s national unity coalition government are against sending more arms to Kyiv.

The 5-Star Movement (M5S) and the rightwing League party, two of the biggest groups in the Italian parliament, have led opposition to more arms shipments to Kyiv. They are insisting parliament must approve any fresh shipment.

M5S leader and ex-premier Giuseppe Conte has said “Italy has sent enough weapons to Kyiv”.

Italy backs Sweden and Finland NATO bid

Draghi also told the press conference that Italy backs Finland and Sweden’s bid to join NATO. “It is an historic moment for Europe and Finland,” he said.

“The request to join NATO is a clear response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the threat it poses to peace in Europe, for our collective security.

“Italy supports with conviction the decision by Finland, and by Sweden (to request NATO membership)”.

Draghi continues, “Finland and Sweden already cooperate with NATO and share its founding values. We agree on making the accession procedures faster: we must support the Countries in the period of transition.

“Since the end of the Second World War we have been travelling on the same path. Finland joined the UN in 1955. Relations are excellent and in the last few years we have had a gradual strengthening of ties. In 1995 Finland joined the European Union. In the last few weeks we have shown a great unity with respect to Ukraine also in seeking a negotiated solution and we will continue to do so.

The Finnish premier, Marin, said, “We want to ensure our security and the EU’s” by joining the Atlantic Alliance.

Russia to expel Italian diplomats

Russia is to tell Italy’s Ambassador to Moscow Giorgio Starace that it has decided to expel 24 Italian diplomats, Ria Novosti quoted the Russian foreign ministry as saying on Wednesday.

ANSA sources said Starace had been summoned to the foreign ministry.

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